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YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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UCD men almost upset Long Beach

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January 12, 2011 | Leave Comment

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LONG BEACH — In a wild finish against the best men\’s basketball team in the Big West, UC Davis almost pulled it out.

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But the upset bid fell just short against Long Beach State, as the 49ers held on for a 60-56 win on Wednesday at Walter Pyramid.

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In a contest that was televised on ESPNU, the Aggies got some late-game heroics, cutting what was a 15-point lead down to two on Ryan Sypkens\’ 3-pointer with 25 seconds left. Down 57-55, the Aggies then had a chance to tie the game in the final possession because of an intentional foul charged to Long Beach State\’s Casper Ware.

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Ware was upset about the way he was fouled and swung an elbow after the play. He stepped up and nailed two free throws to put the 49ers ahead 60-55, but the ball then went down to the other end of the court. There, UCD\’s Joe Harden would attempt to make it a one-possession game with the Aggies to be awarded the ball after the two free throws for the intentional foul.

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Harden, however, managed just one of two free throws and a final 3-point attempt fell short, as Long Beach State managed to hang on for the win.

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A 14-0 run by the 49ers (10-8, 5-0) in the second half proved to be the difference, with LBSU holding the Aggies scoreless for more than five minutes. The 14 unanswered points gave the 49ers their biggest lead of the game with 7:59 remaining at 50-35. UCD (6-11, 1-4) outscored Long Beach 21-10 over the final eight minutes, but the offensive burst was too little too late.

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Eugene Phelps led the way for the 49ers, recording a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Three other players were in double figures for LBSU, with Ware and Larry Anderson each scoring 12 and Greg Plater chipping in with 11.

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Harden poured in 20 points for UCD to lead all scorers. Sypkens tallied 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including a 4-of-8 mark from behind the arc and Eddie Miller added 10 points on 5-of-10 shooting for the Aggies.

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“We\’re a resilient bunch. We\’ve got some guys that have some toughness and some fight about them,” said UCD head coach Gary Stewart. “You would expect that we were going to make a run and we did. Anytime you\’re on the road, you want to get it to a one or two possession game late and we were able to do that. Give credit to Long Beach; they were able to close the game out.”

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The 49ers jumped out to a 9-4 lead to start the game, but UCD had the score at 9-8 with 14:19 on the clock after Harden scored the first six points for the Aggies.

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UCD took its first advantage at 16-13 when Ryan Silva and Harden each hit treys at the 9:58 mark, and another three from Sypkens gave the Aggies their biggest lead of the game at 19-13.

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The 49ers responded with a 7-0 run, going up 20-19 by holding UCD scoreless for nearly five minutes. There were five ties and four lead changes in the first half, as a Harden layup with seconds remaining made the score 24-24 at intermission. Harden had 11 points at the break to lead all scorers.

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The second half started with two ties and two lead changes, and the score was 33-all with 13:58 to play. From there, Long Beach State made the decisive 14-0 run.

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The 49ers had a seven-point advantage with under a minute to play, but five straight points from Sypkens brought the score to 57-55 with just 25 seconds on the clock.

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“Aside from about eight minutes in the second half, I though we executed on defense well,” Stewart said. “When we were tentative, Long Beach was able to capitalize and build their lead. We had some bounces go our way to get back in the game and you force those things with your effort and your tenacity. I was really proud of the guys in terms of their competitiveness and their efforts (Wednesday).”

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The Aggies now have a 10-day break from games, before getting back into action with a home contest against Pacific on Jan. 22.

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Enterprise staff

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